Hello folks, long time lurker, first time poster. here goes...
Had dinner last night at the new restaurant on Belmont and Lakewood, Joey's Brickhouse. The chef/owner, Joey Morelli, a friend from grade school, has been training as a chef/restaurantuer for the past ten years. He's worked for some pretty heavy hitters in town (Gordon/Spruce), and around the country, Border Grill (LA) and Citrus (NYC). Now its time for "Joey's" place, and we're lucky he chose to come home.
Here's a description which pretty much sums it up.
"jewish meets italian meets latin meets chicago meets arizona meets LA meets NYC."
It was a "mock" dinner, and because they were looking for feedback, everything was on the house. This was good as it allowed us to order abundantly...
The Calamari appitizer was lightly fried, and the real cocktail sauce had a nice little bite, which I prefer. Other apps we tried were the artichoke dip with white cheddar and corn, served with thick warm bread, rather than the typical pita chips. We also split a wonderful Ahi tuna/avocado salad tossed in a sesame-orange vinagerette. This was a meal size salad, but perfect as an appetizer for four.
We also tried the mish-mosh soup, which was served with three smaller firm mazto balls, just the kind i like. (sorry bubby)
One other note was that the bread served was actaully fresh baked challah. Not sure if this is an every night thing, or just a nod to Friday night.
Main courses were:
Jambalaya Paella. It had the scallops and conch of Paella, as well as a nice homemade adouille sausage which gave it the jambalaya kick.
Baked Chicken, was a little dry, but was served with homemade pasta, carmelized onions, shaved parmesan, and broccoli.
Whole Grilled Red Snapper. Great presentation of the whole fish served over a veggie stew. Lots of bones to work around, but if you like eating whole fish, this is worth it.
Grilled lamb shank I thought was the best in show. As the menu says, "braised forever in tomato-red wine broth", and as expected, the lamb fell right off the bone.
Desserts were exceptionally creative. The chocolate fondue was served with strawberries, banana chips, marshmallows, rice krispie treats, graham crackers, and dipping bowls of milk, white, and dark chocolate, YUM!
Key lime pie, declared "best ever" by one of our group.
S'mores. All the fixin's served around a tiny hibachi grill, very cool.
My guess is that once the opening kinks are worked out, this restaurant will do extremely well. Its got a great location on Belmont, across from the Theater Building, block from Schuba's, etc. Its also very accessible in terms of overall comfort level. One of those places you could show up wearing a suit and tie or just a tie-dye, and fit right in. No question though, the food will be the shining star of this place. Check it out when it opens, as I imagine the buzz will spread very quickly.
1258 W. Belmont
Chicago, Il. 60657
I think they'll be taking reservations.